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Story Time as Captain Marvel

Now on to something different from my usual written pieces on animals and the zoo and aquarium community for a story on how I pulled off two Marvel-themed story time events in one day.

By Jenna DeedyPublished 3 months ago 10 min read
Reading to kids as Captain Marvel at the Bookery in Manchester, NH on May 6th, 2023

Hello everyone, sorry I haven’t published recent stories since August but it has been an overwhelming five months since I wrote and published my last article. Lately, I have been busy thanks to returning to school to conduct online courses to get a master’s degree and a teacher certification from the University of New Hampshire. I can tell you that while taking three online courses in one fall semester has been rewarding, it was exhausting to where I didn’t have enough time or energy to write new articles. Now that I’ve focused on studying for the Praxis exam hoping to start clinical work, I used the free time I had to write a brand-new story. Normally, it would be on animal stories, but I did something different and wrote about some of the cosplay experiences instead.

Our Story Begins…..

After the success of a Christmas-themed story time event I did as Princess Anna, I put my cosplay into use for story time performances for local, annual events. So, in January 2023, I looked into seeing if there were any local businesses and libraries that were open to letting cosplayers do story time with children and families. For the character in question, I wanted to bring Carol Danvers, also known as Captain Marvel, to life for the events considering how popular characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe are with kids despite all the comic book movie saturation you hear about on the News. It was also Disney’s 100th anniversary as a major franchise and Disney just was the parent owner of Marvel, which includes all the comics that the movies and shows are all based on.

Another reason I went with Captain Marvel was that, like Gamora and Shuri before her, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s iteration of Carol Danvers is a role model like a Disney Princess for her acts of heroism in her film appearances and her potential to one day become a leader of the “Avengers” team in time. Aside from her being one of my favorite Marvel characters after Scarlet Witch, Gamora, Captain Carter, and Kitty Pryde, I always regarded Carol as a complex and interesting character from how she was born of human and Kree descent, to how she’s a true individual who always wishes to set things right for the good of others around her.

After I selected my character to do story time events, I started emailing every library and family-friendly business I could find that was within a thirty-mile radius to see if they were up to doing a Marvel-themed story time event by pitching the idea of how it would be an interactive event where kids could “meet” Carol, ask her questions, tell her about their favorite superheroes and hear read two different Marvel stories from her. The event would conclude with families being allowed to take photos and chat with Captain Marvel before she blasts off to her next adventure. At first, I got some rejection letters from them saying that they only host events with pre-approved characters or they don’t relate to any of the events they already had planned for the year. It was frustrating because I hoped they would be open to it only to learn they weren't. A few comic book shops expressed interest and gave me their manager’s email address to reach out to them but every time I wrote to them, I ended up not hearing from them back.

Then, I Struck Gold

After weeks of rejections, I ended up getting an email from the Merrimack Public Library with the news I was hoping to hear for weeks. They were open to having a Captain Marvel-themed story time event on May 6th followed by a screening of Captain Marvel. I was so excited, that I agreed to the date. Not long after that, the Bookery, a small bookstore-cafe hybrid shop in Manchester, offered me to do a similar event on the same day, but at a different time. While they knew about my morning story time event in Merrimack, they were open to me doing theirs almost an hour after the Merrimack Presentation. To make things work, I agreed to their offer, which conveniently allowed me to travel with my sister between events.

Show Time: Captain Marvel Brings Magic to Merrimack Library

A few months after booking the two events, the sixth of May finally arrived, and the time had come for Captain Marvel to come to life by bringing her to life as cosplay. Once I got ready to start a day of marvelous magic, and my sister got herself all good and ready to go, we both headed out to start her mission of reading two children's stories of heroines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

My first stop was the Merrimack Public Library to perform the first story time event. Greeted by the librarian, I announced Captain Marvel's arrival for story time. Following her directions, I descended to the children's section, where an eager crowd awaited. They dressed some kids as their favorite heroes like Spider-Man and Captain America, and some adults in the audience were Disney bounding as their favorite characters from the movies and shows. For me, it was just so exciting to see how much these characters, the stories, and the world that they’re all a part of and how much they mean to them.

Settling down with the books, I introduced myself as Captain Marvel, ready to share two heroic tales. In staying true to the character in both comic and film iterations, I told the kids (in character) how their favorite Marvel heroine was the daughter of a human father and a Kree warrior mother whose powers came to be by the Tesseract, which contained the Space Stone, during a run-in with the Kree Star-Force following a plane crash at Earth. I then, told them, as Carol, about some of the “adventures and missions” I went on with the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy before proceeding to ask the audience some questions. The first question I asked them was who their favorite hero was and why that hero was their favorite and one response I got from one kid was that their favorite Marvel hero was Black Panther. The reason was because to them T’Challa was a lot more than just an African king who also was a superhero. He was a complex character whose story of wanting to bring peace to both his people and country and put his life on the line for it. I was so moved by it because while I knew how much the Black Panther film meant to many African American communities, a legacy left behind by an actor who died a year after his character’s last live-action appearance in Avengers: Endgame meant a lot to that kid and how much he could relate to T’Challa shows the importance of ethnic diversity in film and television and how it allows kids to see themselves in a positive light. Then, another kid in the audience talked about how Miles Morales was their favorite character because he was just like them. The session continued for about another few minutes before going on with the first Marvel-themed book What Makes a Hero a Hero?

The reason I chose What Makes a Hero and Hero as the first book to read to the kids was that it didn’t just highlight some of Carol’s struggles and how they shaped her into the hero she would ultimately become in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Still, it also highlights the stories of other Marvel movie heroines such as Black Widow, Captain Peggy Carter, Gamora, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, and Shuri. In addition, the book beautifully illustrates the undying strength, compassion, and superpowers that all lie at heart and in all of us. I can recall the times I had to pause the book to give the kids a chance to talk about some of these women and their stories of how they overcame the obstacles that came their way. This was especially true when I got to parts where I read to them about certain characters like Mantis, Shuri, Nebula, and Gamora. Once I read the story to them, I asked another round of questions to the kids about what it meant for them to be heroes and many of them agreed part of being a hero is to be brave and always stay kind to one another.

Soon, I moved on to reading a simple Little Golden Book titled Captain Marvel. This children’s book highlighted Carol Danvers’ story of how she got her powers, some adventures she’s been on through the years, and some characters she’s teamed up with. For example, when we got to the part where Carol teamed up with the Guardians of the Galaxy for a cosmic adventure, I stopped for a moment to give the kids a chance to point out who all the Guardians were by name, and within a heartbeat, they pointed them all out by name. I could also say the same about the next page in which Carol teamed up with the Avengers to stop Ronan the Accuser and his Kree army from invading Earth. I mean, they immediately identified Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain America, and Iron right away as soon as they saw them all on the page as if they’ve known them forever. We even got to the part where Carol met and teamed up with her super fan and fellow heroine Kamala Khan, the mutant. This resulted in us briefly talking about Kamala, her powers, and how she might join the Avengers one day.

Wrapping up the book, we discussed our favorite heroes, including Star-Lord, the Eternals, and Spider-Gwen, and what we liked about them as characters and the roles they play in the Marvel Universe. Once it concluded, it was time for all the kids and families to get their photos taken with Captain Marvel. In addition, I also got to let them touch Carol’s helmet by telling them (in character) that they made the helmet from vibranium like Captain America’s shield and Black Panther’s suit. Afterward, I thanked the Librarians for inviting me (again; I was in character) to read to the kids and the Librarians thanked Captain Marvel (me) for spending time with their young patrons and reading to them. As I left the Library, a couple more families came to visit and were more than happy to get photos with her while she was still in the building, which meant a lot more to them than anything soon greeted me.

How did it go?" she asked. I couldn't stop the smile as I replied, "Honestly, it was one of the most magical moments in my nine years as a cosplayer! I told her that the kids were excited about seeing one of their favorite Marvel heroes read to them and how much it meant to both them and their parents. Janis beamed as we drove towards Manchester, sharing my excitement for the next stop.

Upon arrival at the Bookery, I found a charming setup awaiting me in the children's section. My helmet rested on a pile of "What Makes a Hero a Hero" books, with the Captain Marvel Golden Book facing it from across the table, nestled beside a whimsical wooden tree decoration. Once it was time for story time, Pulling out the same routine as in Merrimack, I added a twist: adorable handmade superhero masks the staff had generously crafted for the kids! All they needed to do was just ask. After an hour of storytelling, laughter, and mask-wearing fun, it was photo time. Kids and families eagerly lined up to pose with me, awestruck as they held Captain Marvel's helmet. Some lingered afterward, eager to chat, while others waved goodbye. But for me, the day was a joyous tribute to Carol Danvers and a reminder of how cosplay can empower kids to be their best selves, brimming with strength, willpower, compassion, and the determination to be heroes in their way.

In The End,

As I grabbed my helmet and books, the joy of the day still buzzed beneath my skin. Witnessing the spark of inspiration in young eyes, ignited by the stories of heroes both fictional and real reminded me of why I cosplay. It’s more than just wearing a costume; it's about embodying bravery, compassion, and the relentless pursuit of what’s right. And on that May day, it wasn’t just Carol Danvers I brought to life. It was the hero within each child, waiting to take flight.


About the Creator

Jenna Deedy

Zoo and Aquarium Professional, Educator, Cosplayer, Writer and B.A. in Psychology whose got a lot to share when it comes to animals, zoos, aquariums, conservation, and more.

Instagram: @jennacostadeedy

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